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psychology of religious genius

A recent issue of Cultic Studies Review Vol. 6, No. 2
has a good article by Lawrence Foster, PhD: "The Psychology of Genius: Joseph Smith and the Origins of New Religious Movements"

He shows that bipolar [manic-depressive] features attend not only many "geniuses" in the arts and science, but also, according to Foster, among "prophets" of new religions and old. he analyses Joe Smith of LDS extensively, but also includes George Fox of the Quakers, Ann Lee of Shakers, Emmanuel Swedenborg, Sabbatai Sevi, and others--even mentions Jesus as a possible candidate for .

He borrows from William James "Varieties of Religious Experience" [still a great read after 100 years!

According to Foster and James, almost all "prophets" have these quirks or mood disorders that lead to "visions" and need resolution. Some are better at the resolution [fruits] than others. Foster concludes:

"The result in many cases is only partially successful. Perhaps one reason that prophets so often face martyrdom or early death is that they have attempted to take on too much. Like Moses, they may be able to lead their followers to the edge of the promised land yet be unable to enter it themselves. Just as for every positive genetic mutation there are hundreds that that are destructive, so too, I would argue, for every successful prophet there are hundreds of other would be prophets who fail to realize their promise. And even "successful" prophets often fall short of their ideals."

I like that comparison of "prophets" with "genetic mutation"!

Re: psychology of religious genius

Hi Joe,

That link URL does not go to the article... it is a MAZE of on to the next.


Re: psychology of religious genius


It's also only fair to note that the majority of these "religious prophets" were in severe desert environments and thier bodies were in severe states of dehydration. Some readily admit to eating wild foods....so who knows. Then (imagine this) half-starved and dehydrated as Hell (literally)....they have a "vision"!!!!!

Well, who knew?!!!!

Re: psychology of religious genius

L, I'll try to correct the link later if possible. The ICSA www.csj.org site has chronic webmaster "issues"--

T,.. I recall seeing research decades ago indicating that 70% or more of all religions included a mind altering substance at their foundation: Soma, fruit of the forbidden tree, wine and dine with Dionysus anyone?

That is Foster's point. If a metaphysical world exists, it may REQUIRE the risky "insanity" of a mind altered by either natural or substance induced psychosis.

JZ may have had the instincts of a shaman, but as Eliade and so many others that study shamanism have pointed out, for a shaman to succeed as a seer and healer, he or she must sustain an unusually sound sanity and social relevance within the tribe.

The prophet is a dangerous person due the apparent power and immense influence he or she wields. Ancient tribes, including the Hebrews stoned or killed "false prophets" for this reason. Navajos were excecuting selfish shamans that misused their powers into the 19th century.

Under the First Amendment protection in America, false and faulty prophets never had it so good anywhere save for Amsterdam.

Re: psychology of religious genius

....According to Foster and James, almost all "prophets" have these quirks or mood disorders that lead to "visions" and need resolution. Some are better at the resolution [fruits] than others. Foster concludes:

I can tell you from experience, when you Meditate to many hours a day, you do see VIsions and other Projections.... you also LOOSE interest in this world... yet, you still live here and need to function.

Deeper states of meditation is a DRUG. you tend to want more and more and more and more... the TRIGGER of the HIGH within every cell of your body GRABS YOU.

During a 6 year period I was so into meditation for long long periods during the day 5 to 6 hours...

At the time, I was finiacially SET, so the NEED to GO OUTSIDE my home was very limited...

You would NEVER be called to do this if you were still in a family structure and working and paying the day to day bills and eating and entertaining a lot..... becuase as you SIT to MEDITATION... this world will call you BACK to your life.

I can say I went to a point where I was GIVEN the CHOICE to PASS or Stay here... obbiously you know what I choose.

I so totally understand why many go live in a cave when they are CALLED for deeper states of Meditation.

I can also say, that the many Ashrams that I once visited in both USA and India DO NOT LEND the enviornment to totally be absorbed in deep Meditation.

I found Ashrams to be just like a workiing business... yes you can Chant together and meditate a little... but then it is time to eat or go to the bath room for the masses.

This is why I think most are very quiet and hide out in their home or cave... and are simply left alone.

The RESIDUE of it perhaps has set the stage for the life I now have, I will never know if it was that or just old fashing GOOD KARMA. Smile.

Visions do happen... and I could write a book about the things I saw and have already happened.

But I tend to be more PRIVATE and less outward about those things.

Intuition is also greatly developed and I still, know things about people when I am around them... but am told to not speak it.

The whole world of the Mind / Spirit / and this world of activity has parts that are impossible to truly understand and box up with pretty ribbons and KNOW exactly at all times... what't is all about Alfie?


Out of the many life gifts, for me, anyone seeking spiritual studies, does not need to spend a dime.

Just Meditate deeply... get your house in order where THIS WORLD does not call you and then THE SOUNDS will.

Even the Mantras and mind games... one thing that began to happen to me during meditation was Mantras was given to me by teachers in Meditation... and then later on SOUND... now, I can not personally USE a WORD mantra.... it takes me no where... but when I sit and meditation now.... the SOUNDS fill my head and they REVEAL other worlds.

I never hear anyone really talk about that, but I also do not know anyone who has taken their life away from this world for any great length of time... and just Meditated deeply.

At all of the Ashrams where you would think Meditation would be very deep, I found, that the Ashram SCHEDULE did not fit the inner calling to meditate deeply.

So, that is all I can say about that.... but I will also say, I am sure there our thousands of peole who have Meditated deeply and never felt the need to Teach, Lecture, Do Reading or go OUTWARD to do that STAGE STUFF.

I find great life fulfillment teaching nursing to very young 20 something students.

It is not a spiritual projection.... of religion.... just a life of compassion for the sick and helping those who have a compassionate heart learn the skills to help one another.

How much more simple can life be.

Chop wood... carry water.


Re: psychology of religious genius

Tyger - You made me laught with your...
" Then (imagine this) half-starved and dehydrated as Hell (literally)....they have a "vision"!!!!!"

Well also, when you meditate a lot you eat less... why, you find the food being digested takes you from the HIGHT of your meditation... this why people tend to loose weight who truly meditate deeply a lot.

The interest in the world becomes les and less.. so the functions of eating food, is from a different point of view...

Visions is a very interesting subject, I have seen so many vision in my life time from the time I was a child before I ever learned what the word Meditation was all about.

But for me only, Visions are very personal and not for me to RUN and TELL or WARN the world.

The more you see, you just UNDERSTAND the WHOLE picture and the WHY behind it all and you understand that some CRAP must happen certain ways,for GREATER things to happen.

So,some things that in the beginning APPEAR BAD... but later you understand that to get from point A to B To C TO D.... the world is sort of NUGGED along the path.

We can also look at our own life and see, that some things HAD TO HAPPEN... and sometimes BAD CHOICES had good outcomes in the end.


Re: psychology of religious genius



Re: psychology of religious genius

Lavender... That Smell That Smells So Sweet...

All you say about relaxation is true.. true.. true...

And to Tyger it is probably "a good thing".

But then again to others, relaxation is a cue to go further into the depths of somebody else's predetermine notion of reality that wants one to follow and think along the lines of , "I just love how this makes me feel and I want to and am going to pattern my life according to the guidelines that this comfortable feeling makes me feel".

I would like to state for a matter of record that if this "feeling" was followed throughout history that WE ALL would be members of a "1984" scenario.

Relaxation is only practiced safely by those who can relax without going to asleep.

Re: psychology of religious genius

Meditaion is NOT sleeping or relaxazation. Smile.

In the beginning Meditation CAN be sleeping as the human mind is creating a vessel for the Transendance of the Mind.

True Meditation is a developed ability to go deeper in an AWAKE AWARENESS.... WATCHING the Body Meditate and it creates a vehicle for the MIND to EXPAND and EXPRESS in a refrinement of the ENERGY that is present DURING meditation.

The Expression of meditaion as I went there... or saw this or that... is simply a WAY the mind expresses the energy... in an attempt to explain what the aftermat of that experience was.... it is an expression.

But you can have very deep states of meditation that allow you to be fully AWAKE and AWARE DURING the process.... EXPANSIVE WATCHING...

The aftermath of those types of meditations have various ways of expressing and there are thousands of books that have been written about the reflective experience of meditatation.

Sometimes youre life will be very crazy as your meditate deepens because the effects of meditation can cause CHANGES to your personal life.

But, I will not go any further... just to say, the words have already been expressed by thousands.

Relaxzation and sleep are the baby steps of meditation. Smile.

Chop wood... carry water .... lightly.


Re: psychology of religious genius

"nam-ya-ho-rengi-kuh" (or however it is.....lol!!!)

My experience with meditation is that like anything else, it has it's uses and limitations. It's quite useful as a stress moderator and has spiritual, uh..."entertainment value". Every now and again you get that "moment of clarity" revelation too, but my experience is that it's not more or less so than in a normal waking state. (keyword: normal)

I'm not aware of ANY meditation that is done at the "ranch". They all call it "focus" and it's a far different format, mindset, intent, and technique. They attempt to become single-minded enough to actually manipulate atomic patterns and structure and form a ...whatever it is they want....usually money.

Or course, no human being outside of a magician's tent have ever done this and proven it. Even Houdini didn't attempt explanations that absurd. And that's the basic teaching. Focus. As if such a thing can be patented. LMAO!!!! How funny....

The basic problem and ever-present fault in all of these cults is that they take normal phenomenon, ....every-day stuff...like having a common cold, for example, and suddenly warp it into something "new"....and "special"....and "unique to you". So instead of having a case of the sniffles....you're "transmuting". See, this makes you special (wanted, ...needed...if only they knew about your special red-wine induced powers...), and feeds the ego of the "mark" as they say in the con game. The purpose of that is to lower resistance. Suddenly, you LIKE this guy, because, ....well, he not only likes you, but he just revealed how SPECIAL you are. How different....blah, blah, blah...(hands out barf bags)

Note to the blind: If you haven't figured that out (that you are special without Scamtha's affirmation) by now on your own....chances are that you never will and will die suffocated by your own insecurity.

Uh oh, ....I think I'm transmuting....I'm going to go manifest a kleenex.

Re: psychology of religious genius

""WE ALL would be members of a "1984" scenario.""

We're NOT? Gee, I feel as though I'm doing a strip-tease each time I go through airport security. And what about the "unpatriot" act, which has indeed taken away constitutional rights. I know of people, personally, an old woman (indian) who was taken into custody for SIX weeks, without her family knowing where she was. What did she do? She accepted a box of "bees" for a neighbor, and someone reported it as "suspicious." Next thing she knows, she's got agents at her doors, is handcuffed, taken away for six weeks, her son cannot find her, and she MISSES SIX WEEKS OF CHEMOTHERAPY FOR CANCER.

Sounds a bit Orwellian to me. Others might feel differently.

Re: psychology of religious genius

that's NAMYO HO, RENGAY KYO [phonetically]
it is the core mantra from a 12th century Japanese Buddhist sect started by Nichiren who found the essence of Buddha's teaching in the Lotus Sutra and then distilled this mantra to be the essence of that sutra. The later 20th century Nichiren offshoot cult of Soka Gakkai brought it to the West in the 1970s. They would hook hippies and others by saying just chant this and wish for anything and see what happens! Maybe one out of a hundred would have something amazing happen, thus, recruits.

meditation [the repeat mantra, low arousal, self-trancing type] can have bad side effects--the more you do the worse it can get for maybe 60% of meditators.
The best study from the 1980s was done by German scholars studyiong Transcendental Meditation established by Maharishi mahesh Yogi, the same yogi the Beatles wrote the song "Sexy Sadie" about

One excerpt from the German "full study :

4.3.3 TM has a detrimental effect on the decision making process. There is loss of self-determination and a turning toward the TM authorities for guidance, i.e. in the case of important decisions. Also, the variables, facial expression, bodily posture, voice and handwriting point to the fact that the total personality is gravely altered under the influence of TM."

A minority of hours a day type meditators seem to weather it well with few side effects, in my awareness. But I have seen the severe side effects in person of long-term TMers: night terrors, inadvertant dissociation for months after stopping, sleep disorders, increased anxiety and hyper sensitivity to the social and physical environment, wacky affect, hallucination [aka visions]....

Re: psychology of religious genius

......remember that song by the Beach Boys? "Transcendental meditation really does me good..." LOL!!!

On a more serious note....I checked out Buddhism for a while when I started "experiencing" the various religions and what not and remember that chant (obviously not the spelling of it). And I don't think I meditate like the traditional TM practitioner does. More of a daydreaming drifting for me...

Probably not meditation after all, on reflection.

Re: psychology of religious genius

Those TM people gave meditation a bad name...
Really, meditation should be calming, and harmless. No mantra is required...guess you said it, it IS contemplation, or reflection...tapping into your higher self or inner voice. This should not produce said ill effects! really, if exploring your own mind is dangerous, there is a heap big problem!

Re: psychology of religious genius

As I have come to understand it, low arousal meditation with a relaxation response {H Benson}is basically harmless and has beneficial effects as long as one achieves a healthy awareness of meditation's limits. I am referring to all sorts of "meditation" including the walking kind, Labyrinths, mantra chanting, breath concentration, trancing out on an image, mandala or yantra, candle gazing, watching the news, listening to another speech by Obama when you have been on the campaign trail with him for 9 months....you get my drift.

The damage or harm occurs when that inner sense is overloaded too long too often. The brain does funny things to itself when it is purposely shut off from normal multitasking ourtside of sleep---the circuits overload and the person dissociates or snaps into a dream/vision state--or in most cases one merely falls asleep right after dissociation.

Devotees of Sri Chinmoy reported to me how regularly the guru, a "master meditator" would start snoring in his chair while conducting a long "meditation session.

The book "Kundalini" by Gopi Krishna documents some of the psychotic things that can occur when you become a serious meditator with the goal of self-realization.

this wikipedia entry on Kundalini Syndrome gives a synopsis of what I mean.

It wasn't just TM that gave it a bad name. Rajneesh/Osho with his so-named "dynamic meditation" for Westerners is a case in point. These onesizefitsall techniques are always problematic. Not everyone is wired the same way.

Going back to JZ when she supposedly met Ramtha for the first time in 1977, according to her story it occured after a form of meditating by playing with and focussing on [meditating on] pyramid power with the attendant expectations of some kind of result----it was like a kid twirling the jack-in-a-box handle for some time not knowing what to expect and 'snap' [dissociation], out pops Jacktha!

Re: psychology of religious genius

Hello Joe,
here is Jacktha's pseudoscience on the pyramid power:

Re: psychology of religious genius

..that entity called Joe ..as it were indeed.. has to replace the term "com" by that which is termed "org" ..indeed!

"I desire for you to purchase one that you may sit under, as it were indeed, and contemplate your genius."

Re: psychology of religious genius

joe sz

I've been practicing Nichiren Shoshu for over 36 years and view it as about the same as actively studying Hermetics.

Re: psychology of religious genius

are there any studies on "prayer"-
extended amounts?

Re: psychology of religious genius


Indeed! The pyramid within as it were is the pyramid without as it were and as it were there is no difference for all is one as it were ....so why are you even reading his post? Reading or not reading as it were is the same oneness as it were.

Now send me $5000.

Re: psychology of religious genius


Studying a religious or occult philosophy is not the same as engaging in the meditations and rituals. I am not sure what you mean by "studying". Maybe you are doing both? And when you say Hermetics, whose Hermetics? It is like saying Theosophy---each teacher/ prophet/channel comes up with idiosyncratic approaches.

I assume you mean chanting the mantra before the Gohonzen shrine by "practice" of N S? I also assume you claim positive results...like I said, most people do not experience harm as such probably because their instincts tell them when to back off or crank it up as needed, like a prn medication.

"I've been practicing Nichiren Shoshu for over 36 years and view it as about the same as actively studying Hermetics."

joe sz

Re: psychology of religious genius

these are my limited observations and I am willing to consider objections...

Prayer like meditation takes many forms so I cannot make a general statement. It is not so much how much but in what environment although too much can be a sign of OCD and not holiness per se.

Ecstatic prayer that includes altered states of consciousness and trance is what can have detrimental effects on some people.
Again, it depends on the person. Some people release more endorphins [you know, those magical dolphins that swim around in brain waters and make happy noises] when they pray or meditate than others. That natural opiate is addicting, like runners high.

People that fall into routines of praying long rosaries, calling on the Lord in emotional tones for an hour every morning, or any routine can form habits and have withdrawals [they miss the endorphin release] when they break those habits.

I am not criticizing the fact that people pray or what form they use, but there can be consequences.

I M Lewis in his study on shamanism and ecstacy
pointed out that any religious technique can cause one to have an ecstatic response. That person will automatically attribute the grand feeling or experience to the environment in which it appeared. If ecstacy happens in a Pentecostal church, then that place and religion will influence of not dominate your interpretation and behavior, at least temporarily. Same thing holds true at a Buddhist shrine or in a wiccan coven.

Many cults and religions are aware of this by default. Get the new prospect into a ritual experience/workshop/intensive/chant session asap, because that will initiate the bond and it will override/undermine all reasoning to the contrary. Reason will become the servant of the ecstacy and reason will do its best to explain it in context.

Remember, Muhammad Atta was a prayerful man---context is all important.

Re: psychology of religious genius

Studies that prove 'power of prayer' or its effects are plentiful but dubious, imo.

"The problem with studying religion scientifically is that you do violence to the phenomenon by reducing it to basic elements that can be quantified, and that makes for bad science and bad religion," said Dr. Richard Sloan, a professor of behavioral medicine at Columbia and author of a forthcoming book, "Blind Faith: The Unholy Alliance of Religion and Medicine."

looks like a good book to pursue this question.

maybe Paul Martin of Wellspring knows...I'll check and get back.

joe sz

Re: psychology of religious genius

Joe sz Sorry, I should qualify. I do morning and evening prayers, chant, and study.I do not proselytize as I view one's religion as a private matter.I am not very active in the organization because I'm not an organization type of person. I do keep up to date on their activities though.
I study the Hermetics of Franz Bardon and sometimes I'll look at Rosicrucian publications. I sometimes find that Buddhism and the concepts put forth by Bardon are quite similar. I began my study of the so called western occult tradition while doing research for roles I was singing on the operatic stage....witches, gypsies, mediums etc.
It became a hobby of sorts.

Re: psychology of religious genius

in ref to the TM study Joe listed:

CIVIL SUIT: Kropinski, Robert. United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Civil Suit #85-2848. 1986

In his civil suit against the TM Organization, Kropinski reported incidents of alleged psychosis, suicides, and the drugging of course participants. The court document "Answers to Defendants' Interrogatories --John Doe I" contained this list of TM victims. A Washington, D.C. jury awarded Robert Kropinski, 39, $137,890 to pay for his psychiatric treatment. Kropinski was an 11-year member who was part of Maharishi's personal entourage.

According to the January 14 (1987) Philadelphia Inquirer, the jury in the precedent-setting case found that the TM movement "defrauded him with false promises of mental bliss and neglected to warn him about the possibility of adverse side effects." Leon Otis, a staff scientist at the Stanford Research Institute, testified that after surveying hundreds of meditators he concluded that "TM may be hazardous to the mental health of a sizable proportion of the people who take up TM." And Gary Glass, senior attending psychiatrist at the Philadelphia Psychiatric Center, testified that Kropinski's 11 years in TM triggered a "pathological state" that left him disoriented and depressed.

Re: psychology of religious genius

Something seems a bit wrong with that picture. Yogis have been doing transcendental meditations for thousands of years without psychosis or I would certainly venture to think that no more than you would expect on the average within the population.
I've been meditating for over twenty years without any such symptoms and know several people who have been doing it for over 40 years - again, with no adverse affects.
I wonder what kind of studies or references they had to win such a suit. It would make an interesting read.

Re: psychology of religious genius


"Something seems a bit wrong with that picture. Yogis have been doing transcendental meditations for thousands of years without psychosis or I would certainly venture to think that no more than you would expect on the average within the population."

I was wondering if you could elaborate on why you find something wrong with that picture?

I think it sounds veery realistic and I too would want to know the proportional #s though I would think they would be hard to get.

If one looks at it in much of the same way as other behaviors (meditating) then it might become more plausable. Not to say if meditation is good or bad much in the same way one might say eatitng was good or bad. Quantity, quality, enviornment, bio-mechanics, genetics, worldview for a few are what are some of the external factors in making determinations.

If one ate fast food (think the film supersize me) everyday they would effect their health more then someone who was eating, organic, fresh, ultimately balanced diet. However, the person on the organic diet could also overeat, and develop health problems as a result.

we all know people who eat like a horse and never put on a pund because of their particular metabolism.

I think it to be know different with the varying types of meditations. In fact, perhaps some people might even display an "allergic" reactions to different types of meditation.

As far as yogis being immune to psychosis, I was under the impression that many display extreme behaviors that in our society might be called a psychosis of sorts. I think there was a specific name for them in Hindu. Perhaps joe or someone else more versed in that culture could shed some light on it.

And yes, perhaps in their culture they allow these persons to roam the streets instead of putting them in institutions. So the amount in the populations might be comparable.

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I typed a long reply and then got hit with that AOL IP address thing saying I was blocked, so I give up! Gotta go and take the meat off 5 lbs of chicken wings I used to make stock, before I get ready for my PM meditation.

Re: psychology of religious genius

Try eating your chicken wings during you PM meditation.

Let me know what you find........other than a bone in your throat.

Re: psychology of religious genius


You're not "blocked" by EMF - as is obvious by your current post complaining about being blocked.

Sometimes, for some reason, this has been a problem for posters who have AOL. It has happened before and is probably going to happen again.

It can be helpful, if you want to try writing a more lengthy post, to do it in Word first. That way, if it doesn't go through the first time, you will have a copy to resubmit a second time, hopefully with better luck ! Sorry that happened - frustrating !

Re: psychology of religious genius

JTR writes:
""As far as yogis being immune to psychosis, I was under the impression that many display extreme behaviors that in our society might be called a psychosis of sorts. I think there was a specific name for them in Hindu. Perhaps joe or someone else more versed in that culture could shed some light on it.

And yes, perhaps in their culture they allow these persons to roam the streets instead of putting them in institutions. So the amount in the populations might be comparable.""

I'm not being facetious - do you mean Hindi, the language (India has a lot of languages!) Or are you talking about Hinduism the religion? My husband, when hearing and witnessing these occurrences here in western culture, tells me he'd seen the same types of behavior in India growing up (speaking in tongues, trances, etc.) As far as institutionalizing the mentally ill over there, it's difficult to even implement the mandate that all children must attend school among the villagers who WILL send their kids out to beg for money. Should they send their children to school, they are given a stipend and three meals a day! My take was the mentally ill will resort to begging, which is illegal, but to enforce it is difficult, and in all honesty, small, emaciated children coming to me and telling me they were hungry - we would indeed by food for them, and I know I will again. I have not heard of institutions for those who are mentally ill. Basically, family takes care of family in India, or hires someone to come into their home to care for the individual IF they have the funds. Villagers, due to ignorance, might view it as superstition and abandon such mentaly ill family members, sadly. Another thing, too as I mentioned in another thread - anyone can become a "guru" or open an "ashram" in India. I've never stayed in one - I have family there and I prefer to stay where there are "western" toilet facilities and chlorinated water and interact with my eastern-culture half. But I have been to to the very locales, and areas - which were spoken of at RSE - northern India/Nepal/Pakistan and more. It's common knowledge "gurus" are not always so. The Sadhu's - female ones - I've personally met and spent precious time with them. They walk barefoot throughout the country, they do not "proselytize," and the ones I met were obviously deeply sincere with their journey, and not out for a "free meal" (one thing many "gurus" etc. are given from the community are their meals) Some just use it as a "cop-out" from real life, and then set up their ashram, and people from the west assume these are the "real deal" and stay at the ashrams in order to be "enlightened." So many are being JZ'd (although not quite that bad). I have an older very sweet female friend over there whose husband decided to do engage in just that. She lives upstairs, and he lives downstairs since he "decided" to renounce everything and "become a guru." She visits the US and enjoys HER life. Over there, the husband is a "cop-out" from society-relieved of his responsibilities since he's now a "self-proclaimed guru" and is offered advantages within society due to this.

Okay, again I've written much more than I expected to. I'll get back to you with whatever the "Hindi" term is for those "gurus" who have the psychotic-type incidences. I've heard my husband use the term hysteria....but I'm sure there are many other terms.

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I was going to take a break from posting but I got called into work tonight [again] and have my first break after 4 hours of.....well, let's just say it's busy at the nuthouse....

Siddhis is the Sanskrit/hindi term for extraordinary "success or achievement" in yoga, etc.
MOST IMPORTANTLY, Ramsters, the siddhis are also traps or diversions that should NOT be focussed on. In Western psychology we identify them as delusions and psychosis. In Hinduism, esp the yoga schools, these altered states are "realities" and not necessarily mental illnesses as we see them. You have to be very careful with language when discussing yoga and siddhis within the system as opposed to outside of it.

I spent some time in India in 1981. I've worked here with many Indian Psychiatrists over the years and have had long discussions about mental health in the "homeland." It is true that many so-called gurus [think among millions] are character disordered and nutcases, but the culture may define them differently and tolerate differently.

Here's a good synopsis from:

"Nine main Siddhis
Parkaya Pravesha: Parkaya Pravesh means one’s soul entering into the body of some other person. Through this knowledge even a dead body can be brought to life.
Haadi Vidya: This Vidya or knowledge has been mentioned in several ancient texts. On acquiring this Vidya, a person feels neither hunger nor thirst, and can remain without eating food or drinking water for several days at a stretch.
Kaadi Vidya: Just as one does not feel hungry or thirsty in Haadi Vidya, similarly in Kaadi Vidya a person is not affected by change of seasons, i.e. by summer, winter, rain, etc. After accomplishing this Vidya, a person shall not feel cold even if he sits in the snow-laden mountains, and shall not feel hot even if he sits in the fire.
Vayu Gaman Siddhi: Through this Siddhi a person can become capable of flying in the skies and traveling from one place to another in just a few seconds.
Madalasa Vidya: On accomplishing this Vidya, a person becomes capable of increasing or decreasing the size of his body according to his wish. Lord Hanuman had miniaturized his body through this Vidya while entering the city of Lanka.
Kanakdhara Siddhi: One can acquire immense and unlimited wealth through this Siddhi.
Prakya Sadhana: Through this Sadhana a Yogi can direct his disciple to take birth from the womb of a woman who is childless or cannot bear children.
Surya Vigyan: This solar science is one of the most significant sciences of ancient India. This science has been known only to the Indian Yogis; using it, one substance can be transformed into another through the medium of sun rays.
Mrit Sanjeevani Vidya: This Vidya was created by Guru Shukracharya. Through it, even a dead person can be brought back to life.

[edit] Eight Primary Siddhis

[edit] Mahabharata Version

Ganesha with the Ashta (8) Siddhis. The Ashtasiddhi are shown as attendants of Ganesha. Painting by Raja Ravi Varma (1848-1906)There is the concept of the Ashta Siddhi (eight siddhis) in Hinduism. These are:

Aṇimā: reducing one's body even to the size of an atom
Mahimā: expanding one's body to an infinitely large size
Garima: becoming infinitely heavy
Laghimā: becoming almost weightless
Prāpti: having unrestricted access to all places
Prākāmya: realizing whatever one desires
Iṣṭva: possessing absolute lordship;
Vaśtva: the power to subjugate all.
In Hinduism, Hanuman possesses the ability to bestow the eight siddhis and the nava nidhi (nine types of wealth).

[edit] Ten Secondary Siddhis
In the Srimad Bhagavatam Lord Krishna describes the Ten Secondary Siddhis as:

anūrmi-mattvam: Being undisturbed by hunger, thirst, and other bodily disturbances
dūra-śravaṇa: Hearing things far away
dūra-darśanam: Seeing things far away
manaḥ-javah: Moving the body wherever thought goes (teleportation)
kāma-rūpam: Assuming any form desired
para-kāya praveśanam: Entering the bodies of others
sva-chanda mṛtyuh: Dying when one desires
devānām saha krīḍā anudarśanam: Witnessing and participating in the pastimes of the Apsaras
yathā sańkalpa saḿsiddhiḥ: Perfect accomplishment of one's determination
ājñā apratihatā gatiḥ: Orders or Commands being unimpeded"

Re: psychology of religious genius

In the inner cult of TM the siddhis are taught as "good things" and you pay big bucks to get them.... TM is basically a religious business like RSE. TM is a hybrid of fundamentalist Hinduism and western New Ageism. TM does warn about demons and all that, don't get me wrong, but they do believe in literal demons and spirits.

I side with those Indian philosophers that see siddhis as potential traps. Buddha warned his disciples not to attend to "metaphysical" phenomena or miracles as they can be an impediment to liberation.

Here's another blurb from that wiki site I mentioned:

"Siddhi powers are said to be obtainable by meditation, control of the senses, devotion, herbs, mantras, pranayama, or good birth.

Lord Krishna states that:

"For a sage who has conquered his senses, breathing and mind, who is self-controlled and always absorbed in meditation on Me, what mystic perfection could possibly be difficult to achieve?"

Seeking siddhi powers is often discouraged and considered to be an impediment to spiritual advancement. J Krishnamurti warned about siddhis in the context of meditation, comparing seeking the siddhis of maya to desiring mere candles; instead seek the Sun of full Enlightenment and Liberation ~ Moksha.[citation needed]"

And recall what St Paul said in his famous letter 1 Corinthians 13
Charity is to be preferred before all gifts.

1 If I speak with the tongues of men, and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 2 And if I should have prophecy and should know all mysteries, and all knowledge, and if I should have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing."

Although the language and concepts are dissimilar, there is much sympathy in sophisticated Indian philosophy with Paul's pov.

IMO, truly enlightened gurus warn about the siddhis.

Re: psychology of religious genius

Joe - It's a full moon tonight so it's no wonder you are busy. And back-to-back with the solstice. add a holiday or two... lots of minds working overtime!

thanks for research on siddhis, interesting. I agree, the use/abuse of such powers is often warned against, with the eventual loss of the power.

Further up the thread, the search for the word for one who is 'God intoxicated "madzoub" or "paagal", crazy with (divine) love ?

jai Hanuman! ( and Happy Holidays all. )

(no relation to Lord of Frogs)

Re: psychology of religious genius

Many years ago I ran a study [simple stats] as to effect of full moon on admission activity over several years at this psych emergency hospital. I ran it
1. Because I have studied astrology in depth and know it is essentially mythical psychology that has no empirical basis and no predictive value whatsover.
2. Nearly all cops [police often drag people in here], nurses and some docs here beleive in the full moon effect and swear it increases admission activity.

Over a three year period I checked for admission activity the day of full moons, the day before and the day after. Astrologers claim full moon peaks in power all three days.

Go ahead, guess....

No difference statistically on any of those days compared to any other day over time for this hospital.

Full moon effect is about biased perception and expectation, not reality.

Re: psychology of religious genius

Tell that to my menstrual cycle, Joe!!!! Maybe it will listen.

Re: psychology of religious genius

G2G &joe,

thank you for your input and yes g2g I would be meaning Hindi.

Happy holidays!!!

Re: psychology of religious genius

Joe - I SO remember those "full moon nights" in ICU! Maybe we workerd were just the "crazy" ones! The work you do, the approaching holidays can have an impact, I'd think. Holidays can be very depressing for some, and I do so hope you can have your time off! (lost two days of our "vacation" already here) Murphy's law...lol.

And thank you so very much for the information on the Siddhis. I can't say my eastern family is immersed in their Hindu religion, but they are very much immersed in the philosophy of such. The rituals to them are just that. And to them, all of the 'gods' are just one and the same in various incarnations or in whichever form a person chooses to envision God - be it a rock, or Ganesh (with the elephant head - son of Shiva and Parvathi - Ganesh lost his own head and without going further into the mythology, his was replaced with that of an elephant.) The great epics were to inpsire people to become charitable, loving, live "good" lives, etc., but again, so many took the stories literally.

I do remember in India when we were visiting several temples there, I had a question I wished to ask the priests. My husband told me to not even bother because the priests there probably couldn't answer the question. The discussions among family, including my 90+ "pitajee," are much more fun and "illuminating" to me. (on Holi, after flooding me with the colored powders, the younger kids "flooded" me with seven buckets of water and a hose - "initiating" me for my first real Indian Holi! (spring festival). Neither they nor I realized the colors would permanently color my lighter hair. You HAVE to have a sense of humor!!! (of course, when I returned home, my driver's license was expiring and I had to have my picture taken and my hair on my driver's license is tinted pink!!)

Enjoy the holidays with your loved ones, and remember those who are no longer on this "plane" physically.
Blessings to all of you during this intimate and joyous time of year!

Re: psychology of religious genius

I would not dare

I aware of the moon/menses cycle in most healthy human females, [I've lived with a few in my younger days of participant-observer research before one fine example of the species made me "go native" 23 years ago] but why not other animals except some species of great ape?

The moon supposedly effects all life on earth...

"Great apes' cycles vary in length from an average of 29 days in orangutans to an average of 37 days in chimpanzees."

Unnatural lights and odd work cycles effect some women but the research I saw is inconclusive.

"Some have suggested that the fact that other animals' menstrual cycles appear to be greatly different from lunar cycles is evidence that the average length of humans' cycle is most likely a coincidence."

My hunch is that the more advanced apes/humanoids developed a psychological relationship millions of years ago with moon phases through conscious observation, thus affecting somatic response. Perhaps it is a form of auto-suggestion that can be a very powerful force in human somatic response. For example, auto-suggestion can cause stigmata with real bleeding. Auto-suggestion [self-hynosis] can also reverse stigmata.

Okay...I admit I'm grasping here, but it is worth looking past the obvious and to me simplistic moon-effects-human belief.

I am not trying to win an argument here or change your mind...

Re: psychology of religious genius

joe - I worked evenings in ER for years, and would have to side with experience, a.k.a. cops, nurses & doctors - something happens. Perhaps it is qualitative vs quantiative - but the craziness was higher, often testing everybody's patience. Maybe admissions did not increase, but the circus occurred: pregnant women rolling in, threatening delivery, 'regulars' cops brought in, psycho-somatics, those wanting medication.. not perceived.

But one question for ya: the moon changes the tides, often more than a few feet. Salt water. We are 95% +/- walking bags of salt water (plus a bit more mineral called bones). So why would we not be affected, some more than others, maybe some kind of brain pressure we don't know about?

Re: psychology of religious genius

My sister-in-law as a young nurse worked in a psychiatric hospital for a time and she said that during the full moon things gotta really bad.
I've never noticed any difference in my emotions during full moons, but I have found that my meditations are deeper during a full moon.

Merry Christmas to all who are celebrating this day!


Re: psychology of religious genius

In the restaurant industry, also, they are convinced that patrons become more difficult, incidents become more bizzarre and drunks become drunker at the full moon...
I read a "scientific research" book that correlates all kinds of things to the moon...they really did study this phenomenon in more depth than you have Joe, with a much larger sample of the population, and they conclude that there really is something in the lunar effect, which goes beyond autosuggestion or superstition. Unfortunately, the book is at my parents' place and I forget the title.
And simple common sense would indicate that the waxing and waning of the moon effected people's lives tremendously in the days before artificial light...of course people would be most active at the full moon, they could see!
As to woman's monthly cycles, I don't think I am mistaken in stating they are tied to the moon.
Also, I do believe that there are things which defy scientific, rational observation and explanation, in Shamanism, the Unknowable. (Thus dooming to failure attempts to "make known the unknown").
And, for every study you can study asserting things are one way, there is always a study demonstrating that they are the opposite way. Science, like, say, Wikkipedia, is the sum of collected knowledge, experience, and commonly held BELIEF, and every "experiment" is doomed to imprecision, since to experiment we must take certain things as "Given"...nothing is given, Joe. There is no absolute fact, only probability. We should all preface our remarks by the phrase "in my opinion", and bear in mind that there could be as many opinions on a subject as there are people.
Suggest we send the question about higher hospital, jail and psych ward admits at the time of the full moon to the TV show "URBAN MYTHS" and see what they come up with.

Re: psychology of religious genius

Now there's an idea!!!

I don't know if women's menses is directly related to the full moon, but I do wonder why the "average" cycle is 28 to 30 days. Also, I know when I walk my dog at night during a full moon, the beauty of it seems to "throw me off" a bit, as though I were "hypnotized" by the sight of the glorious full moon. I do know, since I worked the 12 hour night shifts, things at least appeared to be crazier than usual, busier than usual-perhaps three MI's and swan ganz catheters having to be reinserted, all sorts of crazy stuff. Who knows!

Merry Christmas!!!!

Re: psychology of religious genius

whew, Christmas is over, solstice and full moon are past, but
tonight is worse at the hospital than the past 3 days.

lost wrote:
"...nothing is given, Joe. There is no absolute fact, only probability. We should all preface our remarks by the phrase "in my opinion", and bear in mind that there could be as many opinions on a subject as there are people."

Your opinion, right? The above is an example of solipsistic ideation. With that position we could never do science, write law, establish moral codes, or even discipline our children. Marriage contracts would be moot. We could not have reached the moon and come back if mere opinion rules the human universe.

You can have that pseudo-absolute world. It is the classic world of the narcissist. I reject it. We can test [and have] certain things about moon phases--it is not mere opinion.

Perhaps you mistated your opinion?

The moon is always full from one perspective.

Moonlight is not the same as "the moon."

What are you testing? Moon force or moon light?
In either case no difference in mental hospital average activity in the long run.

Perhaps birthing centers have different averages, but "lunatics" do not care what phase the moon is in--If don't believe me....run the numbers yourself in another place or in a thousand places.

If you mean that moon LIGHT effects our behavior, then you may have some ground for argument, but I have seen no studies.

I feel the same energy from full moonlight as anyone---utterly beautiful whenever I camped out at 11,000 feet in the Sangre de Cristo Mts near Santa Fe--full moon periods were my favorite times to hike up there alone.

But the science would have to test "full moon effect" during overcast days and compare to see if it is the "light" having effect or the "force" [gravity, mass, movement]of the phase.

just some thoughts.

Re: psychology of religious genius

"But one question for ya: the moon changes the tides, often more than a few feet. Salt water. We are 95% +/- walking bags of salt water (plus a bit more mineral called bones). So why would we not be affected, some more than others, maybe some kind of brain pressure we don't know about?"

If you use that logic or pseudo-logic of moon magnetism/gravity affecting our behavior, thoughts, world events, you will have to consider all other objects around us that have greater force.

Yes, moon force causes tides both facing and facing away [opposing sides of earth] in our oceans because the relatively mild force is spread over vast distances and spaces. Our tiny bodies in comparison to oceans feel miniscule amounts of that moon force. For example, when a baby is born there is far more gravitational energy pulling or pushing from the midwife than the moon, or from the machines in the hospital or from the building. What about the large tree I was standing beneath while up on the mountain under the full moon? That tree had far more immediate effect physically than the moon. Do astrologers take those forces into account? No--too complex, too real.

more things to think about.

Re: psychology of religious genius


This article is from the Scientific Skepticism FAQ, by Paul Johnson Paul@treetop.demon.co.uk with numerous contributions by others.

7.4.1: Could astrology work by gravity?
Some people argue that we are affected by the gravity of the planets
(just as tides are caused by the gravity of the Moon and Sun), and
that this is the connection between the motion of the planets and
mundane events on Earth.

Leaving aside the fact that astrology doesn't work (see above),
gravity is simply too weak to do this. Gravitational force on a mass
(such as a human being) decreases with the square of the distance to
the other mass. But the Earth is affected just as strongly by the
other mass, and accelerates slightly towards it. So the net effect on
us is nil. What is important is the difference in gravity between the
two sides of the mass. This decreases with the *third* power of the
distance (i.e. very fast) but increases with the distance between the
near and far sides. Hence the Moon and Sun cause tides because the
Earth is very large. But the difference in gravity between one end of
a human and the other is absolutely minuscule.

Also, if this were the mechanism behind astrology then the most
significant thing in astrology would be the position of the Moon, with
the time of day coming second (as it is for tides). The position of
the planets would be completely irrelevant because they are so much
further away than the Moon and so much smaller than the Sun."

Re: psychology of religious genius

I am not a narcissist, Joe. Nor is my view of scientific experimentation unique to me.
And, belief in the lunar effect is not the same as belief in astrology.
I could as well say, belief in psychology, which is the basis of your profession (and one of mine), or belief in God, is the same as giving credence to the existence of fairies.
You are more learned in what to call a type of thought, but your comments are an example of something I'm sure (lol).
I stand by my statement, that whatever theory we may propound, another may be equaly justified, and have as much evidence for, an opposite theory. And, it's all just theory. We could not parent our children or police our world if nothing is given, or have reached the moon if nothing is absolutely true? Can you back that up? COuld we not say, that all of those endeavours represent a study of probabilities? An educated guesstimate. But, just as people question a man writing about about "Secrets of the East" if he has never been to the East, we should realize (in my OPINION) that much of what we take to be true is not based on our experience, but instead, is based on what we are told, what we have read, or what we have seen on TV. Truly, to bellieve in nothing is madness.
But so is believing something without sufficient evidence, and criticising those who do not agree.
I am not narcissistic, Joe. I tend to take more interest in, and spend more time focussing on, others.

Re: psychology of religious genius

Google an intersting experiment:
On Being Sane in Insane Places...and tell me that this study is less valid than those which support the findings of modern psychology, and current treatment and diagnostic methodology.
As for "Astrology"...perhaps it would be more palatable to you, if it represented a study of the effects of the weather (which the moon does have some control over)at the time of birth on people in countries that have seasons. I believe that there is something in the time of year you were born, which may, through differences in early childhood experience,effect your temperament. (in my opinion)
And you might as well tell me, that the Sun, or Earth's position in the solar system, or the solar system's position in the galaxy, has absolutely no effect whatsoever on us.
I take the "lunar effect" theory to mean what it says. That the cycles of the moon have some effect on our behaviour. And the fact that there is more light at the time of the full moon would therefore be relevant to the argument, if my parameters of same were to be observed. And why are my parameters less worthy than yours, Joe? Tell me, pray.

Re: psychology of religious genius

"The prophet is a dangerous person due the apparent power and immense influence he or she wields. Ancient tribes, including the Hebrews stoned or killed "false prophets" for this reason."

I like your points, L.I.S. It's interesting to see a psychologist go off occassionally, esp. when tired...!

To swing back to the initation of this thread, 'religious genius' & prophets in ancient times, 'Wise Men' aka prophets kept counsel to Kings - these were astronomer-astrologers, understanding the high degree of math/calculations behind the movement of the stars. This is how astrology was born and fostered - it was an advanced science at that time. Used, because it was all they had, and somehow, something about it worked.

PBS has a show on regarding the birth of Christ and the Three Wise Men - again, thought to be Babylonian astronomers, who knew in advance that a great being was about to be born. Their preparations to Bethlehem were made months in advance of their journey. They may have also known potent delineations of latitude/longitude.

The show was interesting in how it showed that Dec 25 may not have been the actual date, with year also in question.

Although not on the show, the visitation by the Wise Men, may have designated Christ as 'the one' but also saved him from the infanticide, due to their knowledge. Who knows? Without them, there may not have been a Christ, at all, and by default, Catholic Church. Now isn't that something to ponder???

Anyway, just some continuing thoughts.

Re: psychology of religious genius

True,Frog Prince...but I thought they were Zoroastrian priests, those three wise men, "Magi".
And what about the brilliant star in the heavens, directly over the humble manger birthplace?
Or reported sightings of angels by shepperds in the fields?
All sorts of miraculous events.
But it seems fairly certain that Christ's birthday was not December 25th. Early Christians, in trying to sell Christianity to the Pagans, arranged for all key events to coincide with existing pagan festivals - Christmas is "Yule", the Winter Soltice.
In one of the Gospels (will have to look up which one) it states that Christ was born "under the sign of the fish"...that would be Pisces, and even allowing for precesion and calendrical differences, that would put his actual birthday in February or March.
Happy yuletide and twelfth night time, Frog Prince.

Re: psychology of religious genius

Impish mischevious question...
were 'angels' sighted, actually Orbs????
See new book by Master ML.

Re: psychology of religious genius

"I am not narcissistic, Joe. I tend to take more interest in, and spend more time focussing on, others"

No reason to get defensive. I am referring to "that world" you describe. How you function in it or whether you identify with it, I have no clue. However, when you say "I am not narcissistic" you might be only person on the planet who is not!

We all function through narcissistic traits. These traits become disorders [Axis 2 in shrinkology] when they dominate our character at the exclusion of a more Protean or flexible self that acts appropriately in diverse situations. Iow, a health person knows when to sacrifice their narcissism and when not to. JZ is one example who has it all backwards and upside down. She has the "disorder", imo.

RSE and similar groups tap a recruit's narcissism and then inflate it.

Re: psychology of religious genius

re: "RSE and similar groups tap a recruit's narcissism and then inflate it."
may be too simplistic.

Sometimes this is the case, but more often the culting process works like this:

Ego inflation increases narcissim because you as truth seeker with incredible karma in this lifetime found the "best" spiritual thing and guru on the planet. The lead narcissist-guru then taps that new ego and continually drains it creating a dependency on the guru's narcissism.

For example, RSE students will defend JZ in the most bizarre ways to protect this co-dependency: "I am great because JZ/Ramtha is great and I believe in her/him."

Re: psychology of religious genius

frog prince:
We have no idea how many magi there were. Matthew's Gospel [ch 2] does not specify, only gives us 3 types of gift. Magi can be astologers, wise men, or philosophers but certainly no indication that they were "we three Kings of Orient are". My Catholic pastor teaches [all priests know this from seminary]the same thing. He also mentions that Dec 25 is a Christian convention [not merely an invention] from the 3rd century that reflects popular folk religion about the 'festival of lights'.

To properly interpret this 'convention,' the Gospel [good news] reveals that Christ was born and died to defeat the "deepest darkness" or death symbolized by the shortest day of the year. That is what Christians celebrate, the mystery of Christ born, Christ dying, Christ resurrected and in doing so defeated sin and death showing us the "way",
not that Px was born on Dec 25.

Of course, that is if you believe that he was born at all

Most scholars interpret Luke's story of the shepherds to indicate the birth of Christ was probably in spring or summer.

When criticizing any faith be careful not to create a straw man argument in your mind by "fundamentalizing" the religion, then trying to tear it down. I made this mistake over thirty years ago by overly simplifying "Hinduism." Hindu scholarship knocked me on my a##.

Re: psychology of religious genius

Joe - I didn't think I was criticizing the faith of Christianity, or building a straw man to burn. It would seem that the magi were very learned men - priests or higher in Babylonia. What I was suggesting was that Christianity may not have come about if astronomy-astrology of the time had not been synergistically involved. So, point being is that what you were putting down as myth (moon influences, astrology, et al) may have been instrumental in bringing about that which you do believe in, Catholicism. No value judgment. That the Z. priests were respected by Kings, brought gold that allowed the holy family to leave, escape the fate of Jesus' death as part of the infanticide.. it is an interesting possibility. Acknowledgment of Christ's birth & 'birth star' if you will (important in Vedic astrology btw) by existing religious authority of the time recognized the emergence of Christianity.

So, Theoretically - New Age beliefs (which we don't believe in, mostly ) COULD lead to a time of spiritual belief structure that we DO believe in.

Out of what we don't hold to be true, comes something we hold as Truth. I find that something to contemplate, for at least a few days. It gives tolerance a better chance.

Re: psychology of religious genius

The Culture of Narcisism was a pretty good book (by, I think, Irving Lashman)...
Axis whatever...I still would like you to look at the study I mentioned, Joe, which does call into question DSM itself, and modern treatment methods, and, in fact, the whole "Medical Model" of Psychotherapy (which I did study). Not proving so very helpful to those we wish to help. And one study is as valid or invalid as another. That was my point.
As to "New Age" thought...I don't think I can be classified as a "New Ager"...more of an Ancient Ager.
I am a big fan of what Frog Prince mentioned...tolerance.
But you can't rewrite History, and call something other than it was, or, you can if you want, but I won't buy it (and yes, I know what Christians celebrate at Christmas and to Christians the actual placement of the day is not so important now); and what the decision by Church FATHERS (they had dispensed with the concept of women's calling to the ministry) way back when with respect to the placement of many Holy days was, was a SALES JOB. NOthing personal, Joe.
I love Christmas/Yule...including all its Pagan trappings...mistletoe, holy, Carols, Christmas trees and so on. What I am driving at is that it could be seen as an example of tolerance and accomodation by the early Christians. In contrast to the slaughter of the Druids, the Cathars, the "witches" who were simply naturopathic healers, and at times, the Jews and the Moslems of old, or the Catholics by the Protestants, or the Protestants by the Catholics.
I would never argue with anybody about the Divinity of Christ. It is only the Church I have a quarrel with - not a particularly bitter quarrel, at that. And, well meaning as many Church institutions are, I don't think they have now, or ever had, got it right. Sorry. That is my own opinion...not trying to foist it on yah!
Also in my opinion, JZ/RAMTHA is not DIVINE. And none of the students so far have stuck me as a Christ. But I like to hope that any of us, including them, could learn to behave as one.

Re: psychology of religious genius

frog prince.
When I wrote
"When criticizing any faith be careful not to create a straw man argument in your mind by "fundamentalizing" the religion, then trying to tear it down. I made this mistake over thirty years ago by overly simplifying "Hinduism." Hindu scholarship knocked me on my a##." I mean it as a general, to all statement---not meaning to pcik on you---sorry for the confusion.

Basically, I agree with you. I've indicated this before, but as an "artist" I view all religious myth and ritual [including my Catholic ones] as essentially an aesthetic impulse acting through a deep human need to make sense of an incredible and seemingly improbable mystery that envelopes us. It helps however to not merely speculate about what another religion of cult teaches but understand it in context.

I believe it was Robert Frost who penned this prayer:

"Lord, if you will forgive all the little jokes I have played on Thee, I will forgive the great big one You have played on me."

Re: psychology of religious genius

Lost in space,

"Sales job"? Interesting choice of words. Think back if we can to that time when say the Magyars [my people] as a group converted to Christinaity under their pagan King [later Saint] Steven in the 10th century. many [not all] folk rituals and beliefs came on board then that the church absorbed and reconciled. It could also be an accomodation--the "sales job" is always about that Jewish rabbi that was crucified and allegedly resurrected and ascended. The "church" after all is nothing more than the people as the "body of christ" aligned with the Gospel. The rest is habitat and decoration.

But thanks for bringing this back to point.
"Also in my opinion, JZ/RAMTHA is not DIVINE. And none of the students so far have stuck me as a Christ. But I like to hope that any of us, including them, could learn to behave as one."

Divinity is devalued by cults that redefine that term to fit their needs. RSE and JZ do fail utterly in the claim to divinize human beings, but they have clumsily succeeded in reducing the divine to a crass human state.

So, as far as religious genius goes, it helps to have some standard for evaluation, not merely "my opinion."

My career and hobby since leaving Prophet's cult has been an attempt to establish that standard. If there were no reliable value system for human behavior in groups or for evaluating "prophets", then EMF is just another answer blowing in the winds equal in value to ramtha's bad breath.

Re: psychology of religious genius

I was taught that Saint Steven was a great and wise man...was not thinking about Saint Steven at all...he didn't participate in the selective pruning of what we currently call the Bible...nor have I heard he was oppressive to those who did not share his beliefs.
And my comments on early Christianity should not be taken as a blanket ****ation of modern Christians of any stripe.
Actually, interesting that I had heard of Saint Steven, the Protestant Church in which I was raised had no Saints.
Because I wanted to understand about Saints, I went on "Beliefnet" and for a while, was e-mailed "Saint of the Day" and "Angel of the Day"...I recommend this as a means of understanding Catholicism (if not adopting it) for people who know little about it.
My purpose is to understand all faiths (including RSE, a business, yes, but also I think it could be defined as a faith)because with understanding comes Peace, whereas, ignorance can lead to fear, hatred, or crime.

Re: psychology of religious genius

As an amusing 'nonsequiteur', when I went to see the movie "The DaVinci Code", just at the point where the highly controversial theory about Mary Magdalene was expounded, the projector broke down...there was tense silence for a couple of minutes...then, a guy sitting a few seats over from me said "It's the Christians!!". Everybody in that whole theatre laughed, Moslems, Jews, Atheists, Wiccans, Buddhists, Daoists, Hindus,and yes, Christians.